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Warhorse Studios' Dan Vavra on Choosing Your RPG Engine

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Warhorse Studios' Dan Vavra on Choosing Your RPG Engine

Development Info - posted by Crooked Bee on Wed 9 May 2012, 18:52:14

Tags: Dan Vávra; Kingdom Come: Deliverance; Warhorse Studios

As you may know, Warhorse Studios is currently working on an undiscloded open world RPG title. In his latest blog post, WS' creative director Dan Vavra talks about the process of choosing an engine for the game.

This whole approach was necessary at the time, but very ineffective. It was as if filmmakers had to develop cameras and film stock each time they wanted to shoot a movie. You spent several years working on a tech that you would then use on one or two games before it became obsolete. I dreamed about a time when there would be a powerful enough 3rd party technology we could license affordably and make our games without wasting time reinventing the wheel each time we started a new project. A few years ago it wasn’t possible as most of the stuff you could buy had its limits and was very expensive. Today, that time is past.

There is no need to develop your own tech anymore. With modern commercial engines, you can create almost anything. Technology still has its limits, but today even free engines that can run in web browsers or on tablets have so many features we could only dream about a few years ago. It’s not the tech that is slowing our imagination anymore; almost anything is possible if you are clever enough. The technology also became so complicated that the possibility that you would be able to create in-house, something as advanced as Unreal or Cryengine and do it more cost effective than their licensing fee, is almost zero.

[...] We were looking for a complete package which included engine with good tools, especially for the terrain editing and scripting, AI, some pretty lighting and a sophisticated animation system. Some engines offer all of this in one package (Cryengine) and some rely on 3rd party solutions (Havok Vision). Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. In the first example, you have everything under one roof for one price, but you might end up paying for something you don’t need. You also don’t have the choice to select the component that suits your game best if you’re not happy with the built-in one. In the second example, the initial price is lower and there is much more choice, but when you need everything anyway you may end up with a higher price, than the one for the complete package and lots of solutions from various providers may not work as well together. Even then there is a possibility that the option to choose different components to your liking will be more important than the final price.

There are also some risks. Smaller companies might offer great solutions at even greater prices, but since the games industry is quite a risky business you must take into account the possibility that they will go out of business and trust me, it sucks when you're working on a game for several years and the technology provider goes bankrupt, or stops supporting its product one year before release. I’ve seen it happen once and it really is bad.​

The last bit directly concerns the likes of Wasteland 2 if they go for something like the Unigine engine, which makes the write-up doubly interesting.

This newsitem is brought to you by Marquess Cornwallis!

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